Inspiring Healthy Meals: Healthy Meals Don’t Have to Cost a Lot

“Healthy foods are so expensive!” How many times have you heard (or said) that? While there’s no doubt that some healthy foods can be costly, there are many ways to reduce your grocery bill each week without giving up nutritious foods. Here are just a few:

Do it yourself! You will pay for convenience. Washing and cutting up whole vegetables and fruit instead of buying pre-cut will cost less. Buy a brick of cheese and grate it yourself rather than pay the higher price for shredded cheese. It’s also cheaper to buy a bag of rice to cook and flavour yourself than using a box of seasoned rice.  Are you buying chili for lunch? It costs less to make a pot of your own, freeze individual portions, than to buy it each day. When you make your own items you can add more healthy ingredients like vegetables or beans than the prepared item you would be buying.

Buy fresh foods in season. If you want beets or raspberries in March, you may have to pay a higher price. Take advantage of lower cost food items during each season. For example in the spring, rhubarb, asparagus, spinach, mushrooms, and green peppers are a great choice.

Choose frozen over fresh. Frozen vegetables and fruit are healthy and often much cheaper, especially during winter months when fresh produce may cost more. Plus, you can use only what you need and have some leftover for another meal. Look for frozen items with no added sauces, or syrups or sugar.

Explore lower cost food sources of protein. Legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas) are far less costly than meat. They provide protein, iron, calcium and fibre, and are very versatile ingredients. You can add cooked chickpeas or lentils to salad, or replace half the ground beef in chili, lasagna, or shepherd’s pie with beans or lentils. The protein of pasta sauces can be boosted by adding pureed beans. Using eggs, canned fish, and nut butters may also reduce food costs compared to using poultry, pork, or beef.

Enjoy some savings while eating more nutrient-rich foods using some or all of the tips above. It may take some planning and trying new ingredients. In the end you might just be able to purchase more healthy foods with the same amount of money or even better have a lower grocery bill! 

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